Chinese Autism Support Group
1633. Hazel Lim
Hazel Lim, from Swansea, has been breaking down cultural barriers among the Chinese ethnic minority community around autism by launching a dedicated support group for families which aims to improve understanding of the condition and reduce stigma.
Hazel decided to set up ‘Chinese Autism Support Group’ after one of her sons was diagnosed with the condition, which often goes unrecognised within the Chinese community. Having undertaken a Master’s degree to improve her understanding of autism, Hazel now regularly holds events and webinars to encourage further conversations about the condition, as well as sharing and producing resources for both families and service providers, including creating the first English and Chinese bilingual autism booklet in the UK to help health professionals communicate with clients from the Chinese community.
In a personal letter to Hazel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was inspired to learn of your bilingual autism booklet – the first of its kind in Mandarin, giving Chinese families more information about living with autism. It is a wonderfully practical way of opening up conversations between families and healthcare professionals.
“I also want to thank you for the incredible support you provide for families living with autism. You will know from your own family experience how valuable those support networks are.”
“Thank you Prime Minister, I am truly honoured and humbled by this recognition. There is a significant lack of people who can give a voice to Chinese families living with autism due to the language barriers, cultural stigma and fears around their status. These families are amongst the most vulnerable groups in our society as they face double discrimination and consequently lead very isolated lives.
“I hope this award can shine a spotlight on these families and highlight the support that they crucially need; this support will help to start to eradicate the taboo of autism within Chinese culture. My goal is to reach out to all Chinese families in the UK who are living with autism and expand the support nationwide by working together with local authorities, service providers, health and social professionals and funders. Thank you once again Prime Minister for recognising the valuable work we at the ‘Chinese Autism Support Group’ do, and for giving me such encouragement to continue helping those families who desperately need it.”
Pictured below: Hazel speaking at an event about Chinese Autism Support Group